Portugal opens – at speed!

By | Category: Travel destinations

The sprint for customers is on.

A panoramic view over Funchal, the capital of Madeira

Jet2, Ryanair and TUI have all moved with alacrity and started booking Portuguese flights and accommodation.

Within hours of the British government’s decision, press releases from the tourism office in Portugal and then the Algarve tourism authority landed in my in-box.

In less than eighteen hours, press releases from Jet2 – both the airline and the tour operator announced that flights would begin within the week as well as holidays. TUI also announced holidays would resume next week.

Ryanair even announced a flash sale in order to try and milk as much of the market as they could.

Smaller tour operators won’t be far behind.

In many ways, Portugal could turn out to be a winner for tourism over the next few months. With France, Spain and Malta all off the radar as far as British holidaymakers are concerned, Portugal could help feel some of the gaps because of the logic in people’s minds will go.

the coastline to the east of Funchal on Madeira

If the virus rate has dropped so they are not on the “don’t fly” list then, if the worst happens and there is another rise,  it will take a few weeks for a turnaround to be so it will be a few weeks at the very earliest probably a month before the British government would consider re-adding them to a don’t fly-list.

Therefore the next month looks to be a safe time to travel to Portugal and its island areas of Madeira and the Azores.

The Portuguese tourist board has always argued that the upsurge that is now largely contained didn’t really affect Madeira and the Algarve but in Lisbon and parts of the north. If there were an upsurge might not the British and devolved governments consider regional instead of a national lockdown?

Whale watching in the Azores

Whichever way you look at it, this is good news for the holidaymaker and traveller because they won’t see a change coming quickly and for the tour operators and airlines because they will judge the same and they can travel with full flights and lots of bookings.

With Spain locked out, those who spend the winter in Spain and the Canaries could switch to Portugal and make a bumper season lasting from September until next Easter.

A sandy cove in the Algarve just crying out for British visitors. By this time next week it might be packed!

For the Portuguese this is tremendous news. They won’t have to compete with their near neighbour for business amongst Britons, it will provide employment and a boost for the economy. But southern Portugal and Madeira are all-round destinations. I was in Madeira last February and the temperature was in the mid-twenties.

To coin a phrase, Portugal may not get it so good!

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